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Furnishing Your Office Get set for business by furnishing your office in style.

When you are a start-up with limited capital, it may be temptingto put all your money into advertising and equipment and skimp onoffice furniture. How you furnish your office might not seem tomatter, especially if your customers won't see it. And if youroffice is located at home, the dining room table might look likethe most logical choice.

But a nicely furnished office is not just a matter ofaesthetics. Grabbing whatever furniture is at hand and plunking itdown without a thought to organization can put you at a majordisadvantage in terms of productivity.

Improving your own and your employees' performance involvesa lot more than finding comfortable chairs. It involves placementof offices or cubicles within the building, proximity to equipment,lighting, desk space, meeting areas, privacy and more. People spendmost of their waking hours at the office, so its design has atremendous effect on morale.

How can you create a high-performance office? The first step isaddressing organizational issues of who sits where. The days of big"power desks" and hierarchical corner offices are over.More businesses are turning to flexible environments ideal forsmall companies where the business owner probably doubles assalesperson.

With today's emphasis on team building, office design ismoving away from compartmentalized offices and toward large spaceswhere teams of employees can work. When setting up your space,think about who needs to work with whom and which employees sharewhat resources. By grouping those people together, you enhancetheir productivity.

In addition to maximizing your and your employees'productivity, your office may also function as a marketing tool ifclients or customers visit. Think about what visitors will see whenthey come by. Will they be bombarded with noise from one departmentnear the entrance? Or will they see a series of closed doors withseemingly no activity taking place? Visitors shouldn't beoverwhelmed by chaos as they walk through your building, but theyshould see signs of life and get glimpses of the daily activitiesgoing on at your company.

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-UpBook You'll Ever Need, by Rieva Lesonsky and the Staff ofEntrepreneur Magazine, © 1998 Entrepreneur Press

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